Sometimes in the rush of excitement surrounding construction and renovation projects, things can get overlooked. Perhaps a cost goes unchecked or timing issues crop up. One item on the to-do list that should never be forgotten, though, is safety, both for residents and work crews.
Keeping residents, staff and work crews out of harm’s way is a manageable task, one that simply requires planning and diligence. Preparation, communication and common sense are keys to stopping problems before they start—and prevention is the best way to keep people safe.
For boards and managers, the well-being of their residents is no doubt at the top of the list when issues of safety are involved. It is important to remember, however, that the safety of the men and women building the decks, laying down new shingles or installing new windows is closely tied to the safety of the people who live in the buildings where that work is beingdone. In general, contractors who focus on safety for their employees are likelier to be on the lookout for residents as well.
“It goes to a general regard for people,” says Fred Schernecker of SPS, Inc., a Waltham, Massachusetts contractor that provides property maintenance and capital improvement services. “If it doesn’t bother you that an employee gets hurt, it won’t bother you if a resident does.” Workers at SPS, for example, are required to wear hard hats at all times when they’re working as well as safety glasses. All employees working on roof projects are required, too, to wear fall protection such as a harness and line. This goes beyond the usual requirements, but attention to safety not only saves lives, it also saves dollars. Companies that go the extra mile in terms of safety “are able to keep rates low because companies that care about safety aren’t paying higher pricesin insurance premiums or paying for lost days because of injuries,” says Schernecker. Ultimately, those savings can be passed on to the consumer.